MANILA, Philippines — Tokyo-bound Hidilyn Diaz and EJ Obiena have intensified their training going into the final three-month stretch with an eye of going all out to win the country its first Olympic gold medal.
Diaz and Obiena, who are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Formia, Italy, respectively, hurdled the challenges of training during the COVID-19 pandemic and remain the country’s best bets to end the its long wait for an elusive mint in the quadrennial meet.
“Even in quarantine, nag-training pa rin kami,” said the 2016 Rio weightlifting silver medalist during Friday’s online presser organized by longtime Philippine sports supporter Summit Natural Drinking Water.
“Dadagdagan ang instensity training mula sa dating 6-8 weeks magiging 7-9 o 8-10 sessions a week na. Last three months na lang so kailangang ibuhos na,” she added.
For the 25-year-old Obiena, he feels optimistic of his chances in delivering the country’s first Olympic medal in athletics since Filipino-American Miguel White claimed a 400m hurdles bronze in the 1936 Berlin Games.
“I feel good, I’m stronger and faster I’ve ever been. It’s a very good place where I am right now and mentally, just try to be as strong as I can be,” said the Southeast Asian Games pole vault gold medalist and record-holder.
Both Diaz and Obiena are the newest brand ambassadors of Summit, which reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Philippine sports and Filipino athletes, including those seeing action in Tokyo.
“We don’t have plans of stopping even though there are challenges. I think it’s pretty much the brand’s advocacy to support Filipino athletes,” said Asia Brewery Inc. marketing manager Jill Villanueva.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) deputy secretary-general and Philippine sepak takraw chief Karen Caballero lauded Summit for its continuous support to Filipino athletes.
“The POC can’t do it alone, it takes a lot of private sector support to do it and we’re appreciative of Summit for being with us all these years. Summit has always been a teammate of the Philippine team for all these years,” said Caballero.
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